Cerebral palsy, or CP, is one of the most devastating and debilitating types of birth injury. Not all infants that suffer from this condition are victims of a medical mistake. However, physician conduct can account for a significant portion of cerebral palsy cases.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
When a birth is difficult or a health professional makes an error, it can lead to cerebral palsy. This condition results from damage to the developing brain that occurs before birth, during delivery, or shortly thereafter.
There are three types of CP and spastic cerebral palsy is the most common. With spastic CP, the muscles contract and permanently stiffen. This results in a loss of motor function and a variety of harmful side effects.
These can include:
- trouble swallowing
- breathing problems
- intellectual disabilities
- speech impediments
- vision or hearing problems
- difficulty with bladder and bowel control
- abnormal sensation and perception
Ataxic cerebral palsy is another type that involves problems with balance and coordination. The final variety is mixed cerebral palsy, which may include a mix of issues found in spastic and ataxic CP.
Causes of Cerebral Palsy
Two of the primary causes of CP are head trauma during the delivery process and a lack of oxygen to the baby. While CP can develop during pregnancy, an estimated 20% of cases happen during delivery.
A variety of circumstances can cause head trauma. The baby may be too large and improperly positioned. If the obstetrician failed to perform a cesarean section in time, this can cause problems during delivery. The treating doctor may also have put excessive pressure on the baby’s head or neck. In some cases, head trauma can occur through the use of vacuums or other mechanical devices used during delivery.
A lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain can also contribute to the development of cerebral palsy. This can occur when the umbilical cord wraps around the baby’s neck or if there is a cord prolapse, which is where the cord comes out before the baby.
Can This Birth Injury Be Prevented?
There are many risk factors for cerebral palsy. Babies who are born premature or who have a low or high birth weight are at greater risk of getting this disorder. While these can be unavoidable, there are some circumstances that can cause injury to the baby and result in cerebral palsy.
Some cases may have been preventable with proper medical care. Physicians should be able to diagnose and treat infections in the mother and know whether or not she is at risk for complications during pregnancy or childbirth. They should be able to assess the baby’s size and perform necessary interventions if the baby is too large. Other complications they should be able to detect are umbilical cord prolapse or if an infant is showing distress before, during, or shortly after birth. Failure to notice and prepare for these factors can contribute to the development of CP.
While not all children with cerebral palsy are victims of medical malpractice, there is a significant portion of those that are. If your loved one has been affected by this or other serious neurologic injuries you should check to see whether it can be attributed to physician error.
Cerebral Palsy Can Be Costly
Cerebral palsy can cause lifelong difficulties and does not have a cure. Depending on the severity, it can be managed with proper medical treatment, schooling, and personal care assistance. However, these treatments can be very costly. In most cases, if a plaintiff wins a cerebral palsy lawsuit, they can expect to receive compensation for the medical treatments associated with patient care. Other compensations may include in-home care, lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish, punitive damages, and more. An experienced malpractice lawyer can get you the settlement you deserve.
How Grabb & Durando Can Help
Our malpractice lawyers understand that physicians, hospitals, and other medical professionals who may have contributed to your child’s injury will not simply admit negligence. We can help uncover the truth. Our lawyers understands the tactics that they and their attorneys may try to alleviate or completely eliminate their responsibility. We will research, interview witnesses, and gather information and documents in order to prove your case.
Not only could you be helping secure the future of your loved one, but you could also be helping improve the quality of care for other babies. By holding the doctor or hospital accountable for their actions, there hopefully will be fewer medical errors in the future, which could benefit everyone.
We make it our priority to guide you through this difficult time and to get you the compensation you and your loved one deserve.